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How Do I Know If I Need a Dental Filling?

April 5, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drlisk @ 1:57 pm
a digital image of a tooth-colored filling and a curing light to harden the resin

Are you suffering from tooth decay that is causing serious discomfort? Worried if you leave it untreated the pain will worsen and require more extensive and costly treatment? With dental fillings, you can easily repair the damage and put your smile back on track. But how do you know if you need one in the first place? A dentist in North Raleigh shares the signs you should look for to determine if it’s necessary to treat your problematic tooth with a dental filling.

What Can Cause Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health problems seen by dental professionals today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 90% of adults over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity, and 52% of children ages 6-8 have experienced a cavity in their baby teeth.

Everything from the sugary and acidic foods and drinks you consume to neglecting your oral hygiene routine can cause cavities to form over time. The most common type of dental caries is the coronal cavity, which can form on the chewing surface and between teeth. Others include root cavities that form as a result of gum recession that exposes this vulnerable area of the tooth as well as recurrent cavities that form around restorations (i.e., dental crowns, fillings).

What Signs Point to Needing a Dental Filling?

It may not always be easy to spot a cavity or know if you need a dental filling. If you are relying solely on whether you are in pain, this can be a tricky indicator simply because it does not always occur. Also, tooth pain can be the result of other common problems (i.e., sinus congestion, a lodged object between teeth).

To have a better idea as to whether you can plan for a dental filling in your future, here are a few signs to watch for:

  • Tooth sensitivity: This can occur as a result of worn tooth enamel or receding gums, which can make it difficult to consume anything hot or cold.
  • Darkened spot around problem tooth: It may be possible to visibly see a cavity. If a dark spot appears on your tooth, this will likely result in needing a dental filling.
  • Broken or lost filling: If you had a filling placed in the past, it may accidentally break or fall out over time. If this happens, it will be necessary to have it refilled so that harmful bacteria do not re-enter the area and infect your tooth.

What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?

In the past, traditional amalgam was the only method used to fill in cavities; however, many dentists are turning to healthier, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing options. With a tooth-colored filling, your dentist will use composite resin, which is color-matched to your natural smile. A malleable substance, it can be easily shaped and molded into place, effectively sealing the tooth from reinfection while blending with your natural tooth enamel. This not only ensures a well-protected tooth, but it also makes it impossible for anyone to notice you’ve undergone dental work.

It’s important that you seek professional help should you notice signs that might dictate the need for a dental filling. Leaving it untreated can lead to more extensive treatment, such as dental crowns or a root canal. By addressing the problem early on, you can safeguard your smile for years to come.

About the Author
Dr. Philip Lisk earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill. He and his team of experts are pleased to provide a host of comprehensive services designed to repair, restore, and rebuild smiles. If you are suffering from tooth decay and a cavity has formed, Dr. Lisk can use tooth-colored fillings to fix the problem and give you a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Unsure if the pain you’re experiencing is the result of a cavity?  Contact us at (919) 870-6892 to let us help.

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